Samsung South Africa’s mission to empower youth in the ICT sector has produced incredible results since the launch of its Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (“EEIP”) a year ago.
Software development skills are highly sought-after in the digital economy, which is why Samsung considers it as an important part of its educational initiatives. Programme partners for software development include the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and Tshimologong Digital Precinct. A further capacity building program is the training and development of electronics, refrigeration and air-conditioning technicians. Partners here include Ekurhuleni Artisans and Skills Training Centre (“EASTC”) and Ocule IT in KZN. Together, the initiatives are harnessing the power of technology to train and inspire young people to pursue their ambitions.
“Despite the many challenges that face our country’s youth, there is immense potential that can be explored. We believe these programmes can open new doors for previously disadvantaged youth. Working together with like-minded institutions such as the University of the Western Cape, Tshimologong, EASTC and Ocule IT we can dedicate the necessary resources and time to create endless possibilities. Samsung will remain steadfastly committed to the idea of real empowerment and education that changes lives,” said Hlubi Shivanda, Director: Business Innovation Group and Corporate Affairs at Samsung South Africa.
The first cohort of the UWC software development programme launched last year has successfully come to an end where students showcased their learning by solving social problems through digital innovation.. Marketing and recruitment for the 2nd cohort is underway. The Microsoft AppFactory at Tshimologong is an advanced nine-month software development programme that aims to address the gap of high-demand software skills. The programme aims to facilitate hands-on, real-world experience through creativity and fun in a learning and working environment. Overall the software development programme benefits 80 disadvantaged youth per annum.
During this time there have been many success stories including that of Sibusiso Labi from the Western Cape. Labi, now 20-years-old, was among the thousands of child-headed households in South Africa. But the determined boy from the Cape Flats refused to be a statistic. At the age of 18, he found a job as a packer at a supermarket distribution centre. A year later he resigned to pursue his dream of becoming a web developer. Today, thanks to an innovative collaboration between Samsung South Africa and the University of the Western Cape the 20-year-old’s dream is materialising. He is one of 70 students receiving web and mobile software development training at a new Future-Innovation Lab which focuses on building digital innovation skills for unemployed youth in South Africa. As a result of his excellent academic results in this course, as well as his practical software development skills he, along with six other aspiring developers, are now ready for the next step in their career and will enter the Samsung EEIP App Factory at UWC for a further 9 months of applied skills training and building of software products.
“As a key part of our commitment as an engaged university, we are proud of the fact that the first cohort of the Future-Innovation Lab has completed the first steps on their journey into the opportunities offered through the digital economy,” said Prof Jose Frantz, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation at UWC about their programme. “We are looking forward to seeing how they will apply and further refine these skills within their local communities. We believe that through innovative partnerships such as the UWC Samsung EEIP collaboration, we can develop skills and innovations that are truly focused on our local realities, yet comparable to international best practice. UWC is also committed to seeing how we can further assist in implementing the App ideas through research and making it count for communities thus further developing the relationship between the university and the community.”
In addition, EASTC is hosting the 24-month MERSETA accredited Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Apprenticeship and Ocule IT is hosting the 12-month MICTSETA accredited Electronics learnership. Overall, the programme benefits 40 unemployed black youth per annum. Furthermore, the Technician programme started on the first of June, despite the national lockdown and the challenges that come with it. The Technician programme is a fully funded bursary programme that provides for tuition, equipment and stipends. In essence, it is a comprehensive integrated skills development investment programme that prioritises the delivery of an integrated holistic package of personal, technical, entrepreneurial and business skills, aligned to meet the needs of the country’s economic development strategies. As qualified artisans the prospects of employment are raised. The words of the students on innovative courses such as these say it all:
“I am so excited that I was given this opportunity to be trained as an air-conditioning, refrigerator and ventilation technician with Samsung. I could not believe it when I got the call that I made it because I have been looking for such an opportunity for years. With the qualification I believe I will be able to get a better job, gain experience and who knows, may even start my own business. I already have big dreams. I would like to thank Samsung for giving me and other students this opportunity to shine, “said Petunia Malinga.
I would like to start by thanking Samsung and Ocule IT for the great opportunity. Giving us young people an opportunity to be part of integral building blocks of our country’s economy and help South Africa take her best foot forward through technology, “said Noluthando Dladla.
“South Africa now, more than ever needs to equip the youth to seize the opportunities that lie in the ICT sector. Samsung looks forward to working with Government and educational institutions to empower the leaders of tomorrow and we will, therefore, continue to seek out the avenues that will lead to success, “concludes Shivanda